Marley all in on marijuana - 'Youngest veteran' firmly behind weed business in expanding brand
After celebrating his 40th birthday on July 21, during last month’s staging of Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, St James, the self-described youngest veteran isn’t quite that young anymore.
Now, at a time when many begin reflecting on their accomplishments and contemplating the road ahead, Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley has a clear focus on the future and the continued expansion of his brand.
The four-time Grammy award winning progeny of Reggae legend Bob Marley has been working on a new album while mentoring and producing promising acts as well as building a medical marijuana empire.
It’s no wonder then that, sitting with The Gleaner just days after delivering a crowd-pleasing set at Sumfest, Marley bristled at reports that he is exiting the business of selling legal ‘herb’.
"That's false. I am still doing business with my own company, like I had from the beginning. I stopped doing business with a particular company, but I have not stopped doing the marijuana business or the ganja business, not at all," declared Marley, who has even converted a California prison into a cannabis growing facility.
In a recent report, his former business partners, now operating as Applied Biosciences Corp, said Marley and his manager, Daniel Dalton, had sold their stake in the medical marijuana business, Stony Hill Corporation, for US$100,000 combined.
Applied BioSciences claimed that Marley “wanted to the exit the cannabis and focus on his music career and touring with the new album. He realised the time demands would be too much to do both careers”.
But Marley, an advocate for marijuana, not just for the purpose of leisure, but also for extracting the medical components which the plant is said to provide, says his focus on the marijuana industry remains the same.
The artiste, who has retained the Stony Hill brand, told The Gleaner he has plans for the future which would see him offering medical marijuana in Jamaica, and that he wants to see the nation speed up the process of legalisation.
"Look how long we a tell them fi legalise herb. Globally a lot of places are now opening up. I think Jamaica should have been one of the leaders instead of one of the followers. That is why I say we are slow," he said.
But the future is not all about the weed.
Marley, who has many other business ventures, noted that the Welcome to Jamrock Cruise, which is his brainchild and will celebrate five years when it sets sail in December, has become more successful than he could have ever imagined.
"The show is sold out months in advance. It’s been more popular than I thought that it would have been so quickly," he said.
Marley, who tours extensively throughout the year, said he still finds time for business and that he always tries to give his personal attention and dedication to any venture that he is a part of.
"Every business or everything that I am involved with, I always have a personal connection to it. The herb, music, the cruise, I'm still a musician and my next order of business is my next album, so working on an album with Third World and working with Kabaka Pyramid, those are my next business ventures."